On October 20, Expeditionary Strike Group 3 and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps respectively, kicked off an amphibious exercise dubbed Dawn Blitz 2017.
This scenario-driven exercise is designed to train and integrate the staffs on global crisis responses between the two military branches.
“The capability to conduct prompt and sustained amphibious operations anywhere in the world is essential to our Navy and our nation," said Rear Adm. Cathal O'Connor, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3.
The exercise takes place off the coast of Southern California, utilizing ships from the San Diego naval base including the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, the amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore and the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer.
"Dawn Blitz 2017 is an excellent opportunity to operationalize concepts the Navy and Marine Corps services have been discussing for some time," said Cmdr. Matthew Hoekstra, director of maritime operations for ESG-3 and lead exercise planner for Dawn Blitz.
Scenarios include various wartime events that lead to the deployment of U.S. and allied forces against a hypothetical enemy force. Together, troops will plan an amphibious assault, engage in live-fire events and establish expeditionary advanced bases.
"The amphibious force's capabilities range from high-end warfighting to the disaster response capabilities our East Coast Sailors and Marines are demonstrating today,” said O’Connor.
Dawn Blitz 2017 builds upon previous versions of the exercise, helping to reinforce previous lessons the Navy and Marine Corps learned, while testing new capabilities and equipment for a future fight.
The integration of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System are unique to this year’s exercise. This will allow commanders to test the capabilities of platforms not traditionally used at the MEU/ARG level.
An infantry company from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force will also participate along with observers from Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico.
"Although the path ahead may be a challenging one as we seek to operationalize concepts, shape force capabilities, and integrate future systems, the lessons learned leading up to and during exercise execution promise the naval force sound security as one of our nation's principal means to project power from the sea to all domains of the battlefield,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Savage.